So here we are, another year is upon us. And, as we all know, January is all about the good old New Year Resolution. Exercise, new job, find love, save money, stop drinking, lose weight. We literally take on the world in January, but in doing so, invariably we set ourselves up to fail. By February we're left feeling deflated, miserable and frustrated at our inability to instigate lasting change. But how about taking a slightly different approach this year? By simply taking each month as it comes and applying positive changes, you're not trying to conquer the world in one fell swoop, but taking small baby steps towards long-standing change that will last for years to come.
JANUARY - Start by expanding your horizons
In order to achieve the things you want in life, whether that's to lose weight, change job, meet someone special or take up a new hobby, you need to set specific and measurable goals. Good goals keep us moving forwards, they keep us motivated, and ultimately achieving our goals makes us happy! Decide on three areas of your life where improvement is needed and set one goal within each area. Ensure you write these goals down and put them somewhere you can see them every day. But remember, these are long-term goals that you will work towards throughout the whole year, not just for January!
FEBRUARY - Create your plan
Once you have set your goals you need to create a small plan of action for each. This is where most people fail, as they don't plan ahead allowing themselves to become besieged by their goals. If you want to achieve your goals, you need some kind of fluid structure. Once your goals have been set, brainstorm all the areas/things that you will need to look at in order to achieve each goal. Once you have this, create a six monthly plan, working through it, week-by-week. By doing this you won't feel overwhelmed by the size of your goals. Small baby steps each week is the key to success!
MARCH - Tidy up your life
Like most people, we all have jobs or things that we keep putting off for weeks, months or even years, which invariably clutter up our minds. Maybe it's to file your paperwork, visit an old friend, or to perhaps tidy out your cupboards, whatever it is, stop procrastinating and sort them out this month. Spring is synonymous with decluttering, so make a list of 20 niggly jobs that you've been putting off and place it somewhere you can see it. In the next four weeks make a concerted effort to work through your list doing one or two items each week. Imagine how good you'll feel by the end of March when you've ticked everything off your list!
APRIL - Have a sense of wonder
When was the last time you glazed with wonder and amazement at the vast starlit sky, or lay on the daisy-laden grass and felt fresh air nourish your soul? As we grow older, our busy lives can consume us and we forget to have a sense of wonder. This month, act like a child and let your mind speculate, question and marvel at everything around you. Go and roll down a hill, get soaked in the rain, climb a tree, watch the sunrise, swim in the sea, watch the clouds drift by or simply spend time with children - the true wonder of human life. Have a WONDER-FUL April!
MAY - Recharge your batteries
This month, I want you to recharge your batteries. If a car is running low on fuel, it simply grinds to a halt and stops working. As human beings, we need to refill our own energy tanks otherwise we also grind to a halt and stop working. If you don't take charge and look after yourself no one else will! So, what can you do this month to refill your fuel tank? Maybe, go for a long walk alone in nature, take a long luxurious bath, have an afternoon without the kids, have a back message or maybe read your favourite book or magazine. Make May your 'recharge' month and feel the difference it makes.
JUNE - Give something back
There is something wonderful about giving to others without expecting anything in return. It opens our hearts and makes us feel happy and content. Follow your spontaneous instinct throughout June and give to others, whether that is a simple smile, a tender unexpected kiss, a hot cup of coffee or a surprise meal out. As motivational guru Jim Rohn once said: "Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process."
JULY - The early bird catches the worm!
At this time of year there is nothing better than to awaken to the sound of beautiful bird song and the smell of the morning dew on the grass. Early morning is the best time for both body and spirit as you are rested, fresh, solitude and the world around you is at its calmest. Make the first hour of your conscious awareness the foundation of your day. Set your alarm half an hour earlier throughout the whole of July, and use this time to maybe meditate, do some gentle exercise, or to simply sit and have your morning cup of tea in the beauty of your own garden. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes to your day!
AUGUST - Listen out for those voices
Be aware of the voices in your head. Listen out for your own negative self-talk, which I call your 'Inner Critic'. Negative thoughts and beliefs can be very dangerous for your own personal growth and tend to keep you trapped in your comfort zone. Challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs. Are they really true, if so what evidence is there? Are you just giving yourself a hard time? I guarantee that you are your harshest critic. Give yourself a break. This is one of the huge advantages of working with a coach, as together we can identify limiting beliefs and challenge them head on. Make a commitment this month to start listening out for the gentle little voice inside that I call your 'Inner Guide'. Your 'Inner Guide' has total belief in you and once you start actively and regularly listening, your life will change dramatically.
SEPTEMBER - Sort out your finances
September is time to sort your finances out - once and for all. At the beginning of the year we say that we're going to budget better or save more. And OK it's September and we're still overdrawn by the 7th of the month or left with one measly tin of beans in the cupboard by pay day. But, there's still time to take control! Ask yourself: What do I need to do in order to take control of my finances? Maybe it's about hiring an accountant, setting up a monthly standing order into a saving account. Maybe it's about cutting back on your morning latte, or changing where you shop. Or maybe it's about creating a monthly budget. Only you can take control of your sending. Stop putting it off. As my mum would say: "Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves!"
OCTOBER - Get more sleep
Statistics show that a whopping 85% of UK adults don't get enough sleep each night. Sleeping less than seven hours per night increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression. Also, not getting enough zeds can also leave us feeling sluggish, de-motivated and apathetic about life. So, are you getting enough sleep? If not, how is this affecting you? This month become a sleep junkie - go to bed early, have a lie-in and nap when you can throughout the day. Restore your sleep tank and notice the difference it makes to your energy levels and the way you feel.
NOVEMBER - Follow your heart
What is it that makes your heart sing, fills your belly with fire or lights up your face? We all have things that we are passionate about in life, things that are dear to us or close to our heart. Ask yourself: What is it that makes my heart sing? Is it nature; is it painting, writing, reading, sports, creating, music, children - what is it you're naturally draw to? When we follow our heart we are in total alignment with our higher self and when we are in this state, life flows, it becomes effortless and is a joy to live. What are you going to do this month to follow your heart?
DECEMBER - Take stock and review
December is normally the month where we kick back somewhat and let our hair down. It's a great time to just stop and recoup before the New Year begins. But it's also a perfect time to take stock of your year and review your progress. Are you on track, or off track? Did you achieve what you set out to do in January? If not, why not? What have been your greatest challenges? What will you do differently next year? During December make an appointment with yourself, and just take a little time to evaluate your year and think about what you'd like to work towards in the year to come.
Louise Presley-Turner is one of the UK's leading lifestyle experts and author of Finding a Future That Fits (Hay House 2012) Get your Life Evaluator now at www.thegameoflife.co.uk